Recent reports had suggested quite a shocking revelation about WhatsApp group private links going public on Google & that anyone could search for the same via a simple Google search. Last November, when the problem was brought in to light by a user on Twitter, Facebook which owns WhatsApp had denied to report the bug & implied that it was on purpose & an intentional product decision.
However, Facebook has finally taken the matter seriously & seem to have removed the bug which made private invite links of WhatsApp groups go public on Google, where any random person could have taken advantage of joining any group. The bug had allowed listing of private group chats links of WhatsApp on search engines.
Facebook has now come forward to take the issue in hands & try to fix the bug that infiltrates into people’s privacy where the names, phones numbers & other personal information from a WhatsApp group could get misused through going public on search engines.
As per reverse-engineer, Jane Manchun Wong, Facebook took out all the existing WhatsApp group links that appeared on Google & on the chat invitation links added the “noindex” meta tag. Google with the “noindex” meta tag cannot index the specific contents on its platform anymore as the code prohibits in doing that.
However, Wong also says that although the links are off Google now, it is still only the first step for the social media platform since it has removed the invite links from Google, but there are other search engines as well where the search results are still listed on like Bing, Yandex & DuckDuckGo. To prove this, she even shared a picture where WhatsApp group invite links were still shown on search results.
The issue was first reported by the Deutsche Welle journalist Jordan Wildon who had expressed his concern over the matter on Twitter that Google indexed the WhatsApp group invite links.
Anyway, after much denial by Facebook, it is a good move by them to make efforts to solve the issue & fix the bug which could have otherwise created a lot of problems for many users in terms of their privacy.